Helmer to lense period drama in 2014

Following in the footsteps of Luis Bunuel and Jean Renoir, French vet helmer Benoit Jacquot, who’s latest film “Farewell, My Queen” is nominated for 10 Cesar film awards in France, is set to helm “Diary of a Chambermaid” adapted from the 1900 classic novel.

Author Octave Mirbeau’s “Chambermaid” previously spawned two bigscreen adaptations: Renoir’s 1946 makeover transposed the action to Hollywood and starred Paulette Goddard; Bunuel’s 1964 version starred Jeanne Moreau.

Budgeted at €6.5 million ($8.7 million), Jacquot’s pic is produced by Jean-Pierre Guerin’s new JPG Prods. and Kristina Larsen at Les Films du Lendemain. Guerin and Larsen teamed on “Farewell,” starring Lea Seydoux and Diane Kruger, a critically acclaimed period drama that performed well in theaters and sold worldwide, including to the U.S. where it was handled by the Cohen Media Group.

Paris-based Elle Driver sold out international sales on “My Queen” last year and is handling “Chambermaid.”

“Jacquot’s version will be the most faithful adaptation of Mirbeau’s novel,” said Larsen, Les Films du Lendemain managing director.

Co-penned by Helene Zimmer and Jacquot, “Chambermaid” is set in Paris and follows Celestine, a young and ambitious woman as she works as a chambermaid for wealthy families from 1890 to 1900.

“Like Jacquot’s ‘Farewell,’ Chambermaid will have an intimist edge because the story is told from Celestine’s point of view,” pointed out Larsen, adding that the project will bring back some of the “Farewell” crew including costumers, Christian Gasc and Valerie Ranchoux, and set designer, Katia Wyszkop.

The French star playing Celestine will be announced at Cannes, per the producers. Lensing will kick off in March.

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